Random cars we like

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The 2017 MINI Clubman JCW

MINI will travel to the Paris Auto Show to introduce the JCW version of the second-generation Clubman.

The John Cooper Works Clubman is powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and direct-injected and makes 228 horsepower from 5, 200 to 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 all the way up to 4, 500 rpm. The turbo four spins all four wheels via MINI’s All4 all-wheel drive system and either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

The 3,400-pound JCW Clubman hits 60 mph from a standing start in six seconds dead regardless of which transmission it’s equipped with, and it goes on to a top speed of 147 mph. The extra power is complemented by a JCW-specific suspension that’s lower and stiffer than standard on the rest of the Clubman range,  a sport exhaust, and Brembo brakes all around. An adaptive suspension is available at an extra cost should you require that little bit more from the suspension.

The JCW stands out from a regular Clubman thanks to a full body kit that includes a new front bumper with bigger air dams and side skirts, as well as 18-inch alloy wheels and dual chromed exhaust tips. Nonetheless it is a tasteful rather than an in your face body kit, suiting the overall new Clubman ethos very well. MINI has also upgraded the cabin with sport seats for the front passengers and matching fabrics on the rears.

The 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman will go on sale nationwide in December. Pricing information will be announced in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.

This would work perfectly in the Beastmaster stable, the problem being we don’t want to let go of anything we have to make room for it. We simply love it though.

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Our MINI Coupe JCW – A GP-esque GT?


We first saw the MINI Coupé when it was released as a concept car back in 2009 and it was an instant hit with us. The car became a reality in 2011 and in truth the production version was pretty close to the original concept and we first saw this in Liverpool when it was launched in October 2011. However, the car we saw was a Cooper S in red and to be frank we were less than smitten. The car looked gauche and gawky, it lacked balance and in truth we went off the car big time.

For a while a Countryman looked likely and then they announced the JCW Countryman and we felt sure that this would be the next MINI for us. However, when we saw a JCW Countryman in the flesh the love wasn’t there. It ticked loads of boxes but it never tugged the heartstrings. It was a car we ought to have, not a car we wanted. Meanwhile, MINI revealed an aftermarket JCW spoiler for their Coupé. This was a larger fixed spoiler that replaced the active pop up standard spoiler and for us it gave the car balance. Gawky became cute, gauche became chic and all the heartstrings in Beastie Folly were pulled! We really liked this car.

This love hate thing had gone on now from late 2009 till late 2012 so our JCW Coupé purchase has not been an impulse buy by any means. Another big attraction for us was that we were able to create our perfect spec. for the Coupé. The silver white and red exterior carries on beautifully inside with the satellite grey seats, the red dash and door rings and the satellite grey door rests and dash trim – it was just what we wanted. Lots of techy goodies were added too – Karmon Hardon HiFi, Satellite Navigation, telephone and iPhone  integration and so on.

It was instant love with this car. We went on to personalise it with our own number plate, SilverBeast name tags on the side indicators, red A-panels and from the start we had the fixed rear spoiler added. The GP2 rear diffuser was quickly added, as again this added an inch to the car’s length and gave it better visual balance. The Brake cooling intakes were changed to red, Daytime Running Lights were added and additional gauges fitted inside  – all to reinforce the sporty intent. The car was becoming very focussed and we realised  that we needed to consider exactly what this car was and what we wanted this car to be. Two and a half years into JCW Coupé ownership and with the love as great as ever we have determined where we want to take this car. First our thoughts turned to what we didn’t want and we quickly concluded that we do not want the fastest MINI money can buy, with mods to increase HP, top speed and 0-60 mph speeds, achieving this would compromise on-road functions. Necessarily this would be a superb track car but an uncomfortable on-road cruiser. Secondly we gave consideration to what exactly we did want. We concluded that our intent (building upon MINI’s own design mission) is to create a driver focussed car with form additions to facilitate its function – superb performance and handling. The fixed rear spoiler, the rear diffuser, The Daylight Running Lights and the auxiliary gauges, are form additions specifically to aid these functions. Red A-panels and front brake coolers are vanity projects in this context. Putting this another way, our JCW Coupé should be an alternative GP if you like, moderated to fully achieve GT (Grand Tourer) requisites by the initial specification of  all home comforts, such as air conditioning, built in satellite navigation, Karmon Hardon HIFI combined with the initial form that gave us secure concealed luggage storage and total interior comfort. A car perfect to cross Europe in – hard and fast.

To achieve this a few more additions are needed. Next it is time to add the GP2 under-tray to streamline under the engine bay. This is the fibre composite MINI GP2 Engine Under-tray kit. This aerodynamic underfloor panelling gives much increased downforce with reduced air turbulence under the vehicle giving better stability at higher speeds. Really the rear diffuser is ornamental without this at the front completing the under-streaming – combined the two give a huge increase in vehicle aerodynamics, downforce and stability. Under-bonnet cooling is also aided with channelled air through pre moulded air vents. Once fitted, this also provides some underbody protection. Metallic heat shielding around the downpipe area also gives protection from high temperatures. There is a potential resultant fuel saving too, but I won’t hold my breath. After this it will be the new full white front spots that you get on the new F56 MINIs. It already has the turny bendy xenon lights but these will hint at a rally intent, or more realistically a pan European touring capability where crossing mountain passes through the night can be done in daylight! We think  these last few additions will see SilverBeast  truly become a GP-esque GT, demonstrating a form that totally screams the car’s functional intent!

Job done then, but that does not mean he does not need a MINI GP 1 as his playmate!




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SilverBeast Gets Daytime Running Lights


We recently put Daytime Running Lights On PaceBeast and we were so pleased that we had to fit them to SilverBeast Our JCW Coupe.

Last weekend I picked up my Mum’s BMW 318iS Coupe so convoyed back with Peanut in the JCW. We kept swapping places on the long drive, first P leading as she had the sat nav and then me. And yes just like you find yourself looking at your car’s reflection in a shop window, I spent a lot of time admiring these lights in the rear view mirror of the JCW Coupe! 

Bottom line we love them and the added road presence it gives the car. Roll on the next mod – auxiliary gauges!


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Car Of The Week -AutoBeast Test Drives The F56 JCW

  This morning we finally got around to taking a closer look at the new F56 John Cooper Works courtesy of Cotswolds Cheltenham. The car has been reviewed many times over on the net with generally favourable reviews, so I am not going to go down the same full on review. In those terms suffice to say, it is quick fun and very polished – we like it a lot. Here though is a bit of the detail that caught our eye.

The one I drove was automatic with chili pack and other extras giving it an on the road price of £34000. For this we got a Heads up display unit, which because of the driving assistance pack gave you three bits of information – your speed, the speed of the road you are on and a graphic rev counter, its position can be adjusted to suit your eye level and  instantly I loved this – the information you needed just where you needed to see it.


The next thing I noticed were the seats. These are  I believe the standard works seat, a mixture of fabric, alcantara and leather. They look fabulous and are instantly vey comfortable and very grippy. Yep sold on the seats.

   The steering wheel felt good in the hand and looked very professional, it suited the whole car interior which looks premium and polished. Then there is the auto box. Well for me it was awesome. I loved it and would definitely have it in this version. First, the car is quicker as an auto than a manual. Secondly, autos are dull a sports car should be a stick? Well… Not really, you see with a stick you get to drive the car one way i.e by changing gear. With the auto however, you get options.  Stick it into drive and let the car do the work. Fun and you tend not to look an arse. Alternatively put into a manual sport mode and change up and down yourself using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.  What a blooming hoot. Trust me it’s great fun. Thirdly the car has the fuel saving stop/start function. My wife, Mrs P still hates this on our Paceman and JCW but matched to this auto box, it is just so smooth and simple. You slow down by braking and come to a stop. The engine switches off, the lights go green you move your foot over to the accelerator and you just go. So so smooth. Spot the bit of red below seeming to stick out of the side of the inner part of the steering wheel. Well actually it is in the middle of the centre console flick switches. It is a shiny red start button. Yep a shiny red start button. Mum… It’s got a shiny red start button can I have one Mum can I?

  It’s fast too and yet refined if that is how you want it to be. the ride is sporty when required but comfortable and refined (by MINI standards) if you need it to be.  So put simply I was impressed. So… Am I getting one? No. Why not, well we love our JCW Coupé so we would want this as well as the Coupé, not instead of and to be honest we haven’t got a spare £34K this week, in fact nor next week either. But if I had, yep I’d have one of these in an instant.

For my money there are a number of very special MINI models. The First Generation GP is one and one I still hanker for badly, Don’t know about the second generation GP to be honest. The R58 MINI Coupé JCW is for my money another very special MINI and now I think this one is too. This one is probably the most accomplished all round JCW of the lot but car lovers have no rationality or logic, it’s all about the heart and the seat vibrations that stir the heart so a GP owner or a MINI Coupé JCW owner will probably be just as disgustingly happy with their cars.

Conclusion – make no mistake this car is a cracker all the way down to its crackling good exhaust.

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Car Of The Week – MINI Paceman JCW For Sale

photo 6

This car was bought new by some friends of ours and when I first saw it, which you can read about here, it inspired us to buy our Paceman  – a red SD with a white roof – which we have loved from day one. Now this car has come up for sale and I have to say what a cracker it is – a low mileage JCW with one extremely careful owner for new. This Paceman needs a good, loving home!

Here are the specs:-

Key facts

  • 2013
  • Petrol
  • Hatchback
  • Manual
  • 6500 miles

Media pack, Chili Pack, absolute black exterior, leather lounge championship black/red interior, anthracite roof lining, rain sensor with auto headlight, sport decal stripe, sun protect glass, heated seats, Xenon headlights, full bluetooth, DAB digital radio, sat nav with voice control, sport suspension, 18″ burnished black alloys, heated mirrors & washer jets, thatcham 1 alarm, sport button, seal & protect, parking sensors, 2 remote keys, full history with manual, 1 lady owner from new, immaculate condition throughout, must be seen, very low miles, in daily use will go up slightly but not being used much, viewings welcome. Priced to sell., BLACK, 4 seats, £19,800

Running costs

Urban mpg 30.1 mpg CO2 emissions 172 g/km
Extra Urban mpg 45.6 mpg Annual Tax £205
Average mpg 38.2 mpg


Engine power 211 bhp Engine size 1598 cc
Acceleration (0-60mph) 6.9 seconds Top speed 140 mph
Wheel drive Four Wheel Drive

The car is currently for sale on AutoTrader  I just wish I had the money!

And Sold in 1 day!

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CAR OF The Week – MINI Coupe JCW

Falling In Love With The JCW Coupe

We first saw the MINI Coupe when it was released as a concept car back in 2009 and it was an instant hit with us. The car became a reality in 2011 and in truth it was pretty close to the original concept and we first saw this in Liverpool when it was launched in October 2011. However, the car we saw was a Cooper S in red and to be frank we were less than smitten. The car looked gauche and gawky, it lacked balance and in truth we went off the car big time. Continue reading

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Car Of The Week – MINI Coupe JCW

Obviously here at Beastie HQ we are big MIN fans and this car gets our vote by a er… Country mile. We began by loving it when it was first shown as a concept then went quite cold to it by launch date to the point of being very negative towards it when we first saw it to now being totally sold on it. It really is a love it or loathe it car, not mant people will be neutral on this one but for us it is a winner. Now I must go and buy that lottery ticket for tonight!